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Back to School Guidance

/Back to School Guidance
Back to School Guidance 2023-09-29T08:10:13-06:00
Welcome Back to School

School bells are ringing around New Mexico, and we’re excited to welcome everyone back to the classroom. We’ve compiled resources and information to ensure the new year is safe, healthy, and filled with opportunities to learn and grow.

Learn more about what we’re excited about this school year here.

What’s New

Math Is Me!

What is your “math identity”? We want to change the perception among many of our students — and their families — that “math is not for me.” Math is for everyone, and whether you know it or not, you probably use math hundreds of times a day. Making a recipe? Calculating how long it’ll take you to get to an appointment? Budgeting for a home improvement project? All of those activities stretch those math muscles.

We want all students to see themselves as budding mathematicians, so PED is launching the year of Math is Me, along with a series of supports for teachers to help students find their math identities. More info here.


While this school year is designated the Year of Math, improving literacy skills is still important and a strong focus at the PED. Teachers for grades preK through third grade are receiving training on Structured Literacy, which is the science behind how children learn to read. In addition, first graders are screened for dyslexia.

  • Learn more about Structured Literacy
  • Check out Storytime with Severo, PED’s literacy and humanities director who regularly reads children’s books on YouTube.
  • Drop by the east side of Jerry Apodaca Building in Santa Fe (300 Don Gaspar) where the PED is headquartered to leave a book/pick up a book at our Little Lending Library, which was built and installed by over the summer.

Health and Student Supports

COVID-19 Guidance

The New Mexico Emergency COVID-19 Public Health Order ended March 31, at which time, the PED retired its COVID-19 Response Toolkit for New Mexico’s Public Schools. Going forward schools should consult with the New Mexico School Health Manual for guidance for the Communicable Disease for appropriate response procedures. Schools may continue to contact the PED’s Safe and Healthy Schools Bureau for guidance related to COVID-19 or contact their School Health Advocate at Department of Health.

Attendance Matters!

Students who are chronically absent — defined as missing 10 percent or more of school days — can disrupt mastery of reading and math skills and cause students to fall behind and even drop out. Showing up is important! The PED is dedicated to supporting our districts and charter schools in their attendance policies and attendance improvement plans and in providing interventions and strategies. Additionally, our goal is to streamline and standardize reporting so that absenteeism data is accurate and timely.

Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression Portal

The Anti-Racism, Anti-Oppression Portal – is now live and available to students, families, and community members to report school-based incidents of racism or racial discrimination against anyone. Reporters can file referrals of racialized aggression using the online submission form. The ARAO Portal was established as a requirement of the Black Education Act, passed in the 2021 General Session of the Legislature.

To report an incident, please fill out the on-line form:

School Meals and Nutrition

We know kids learn best when their basic needs are met. Almost three-fourths of NM students (71%) will eat for free at school this school year, thanks to 2020 legislation. Although the federal government reinstated co-pays for reduced-price meals, HB1 eliminated those co-pays in New Mexico. For students who don’t qualify for any meal assistance, the maximum co-pay for a school meal is just 40 cents.

Page last updated September 29, 2023